Communications Sent Using Public Funds

In addition to any laws outside of the Act that may also apply, the Act restricts the use of public money for the mass mailing of campaign materials and requires any governmental agency engaged in campaign activity to report contributions and expenditures if the agency qualifies as a campaign committee.

Campaign Related Communications

A state or local government agency that pays for a campaign related communication may become a committee subject to reporting if the payments qualify as contributions or independent expenditures. Generally, a payment for a communication that does not expressly advocate for or against a candidate or measure does not constitute a contribution or independent expenditure. For example, a mailing that is sent to senior citizens to explain the purpose of an upcoming ballot measure that will provide a tax exemption for certain seniors is considered to be informational, not campaign material.

There are also very specific rules concerning the sending of a mass mailing at public expense that mentions elected officials. With some exceptions, the law prohibits the individual distribution of more than 200 copies of substantially similar items in a calendar month if the items include the name, office, photograph, or other reference to an elected official.

Communications that Feature an Elected Official

There are also very specific rules concerning the sending of a mass mailing at public expense that mentions elected officials. With some exceptions, the law prohibits the individual distribution of more than 200 copies of substantially similar items in a calendar month if the items include the name, office, photograph, or other reference of an elected official.